Friday, April 30, 2010

Long Overdue Thank You

Tomorrow we are having a Kitchen Christening Party to celebrate the completion of our kitchen renovations. Started in January, the work was pretty much completed in two months, but we’ve had a few small niggle items that have taken a while to resolve. While we still are not exactly 100% done (our new front doors won’t be in until May 20), we decided it was time to show it off. But before doing so, I want to send some love to the key people who contributed to this project. While I served as the contractor on this project, it could not have come together without the feedback, patience, guidance, generosity, hard work, and honest opinions of many, many individuals. Bless their hearts, every single one of them. We could not have completed this project without them!

First to Mr. B for allowing this project to move forward, despite his reservations. He was a trooper, schlepping deconstructed materials to the debris box, making hardware runs, pitching in when needed, and eating crap for two months. He knew that he would bear the fruits of his hard labor when this project was done, and so he has. But lots of kisses to him for trusting in me and this renovation.

My children also had a hand in the renovations. Brilliant Daughter and Electrician Son hosted Sunday dinner throughout our kitchenless time. We could always count on one good meal per week that was not amid the rubble and dust. Brilliant Daughter also found the tile combination that we utilized in our backsplash, which was a fantastic find, and spent a lot of time trooping around Urban Ore for doors and bits and bots.

Electrician Son did all the electrical work, rewiring our whole kitchen to code, as well as doing parts of the foyer and dining room/ office, installing all the cans, new outlets and switches, under cab lights, and a new outlet on our front porch. He took time off work, put in late night hours, and gave up some weekend time as well. He came up with some wonderful decorative features, such as the clip-on black stainless outlets by our stove and the foyer light. He also scrounged a few things from kitchen demos he has worked on which saved us some $$$.

Butcher Son not only helped when asked, but never once complained about the early morning nail guns, excessive dust, bad food, or unloading all the heavy items we brought home, including 24 boxes of flooring. And he occasionally brought home fresh food for us to eat.

Valerie Dakin, for getting this whole thing started, and providing guidance, suggestions and support throughout the whole project. Valerie, realtor extraordinaire, has helped us sell 3 homes over the years. Always cheerful (and well dressed), she insisted that our kitchen had to be updated before we put the house on the market (our plan in a few years). She came in and saw what we couldn’t, suggesting we move the kitchen door to accommodate a new run of cabinets and to remove part of another wall to create a more open space with the dining room/office. While both of these suggestions cost us significantly more in the long run, they were well worth it, making the house more open, light, and it actually functions better. Great insight.

Loren Dakin, husband of said realtor extraordinaire, and a real estate agent in his own right. A former contractor, he was instrumental in making structural suggestions, helping with building permits, solving problems, and always being at the ready when we needed something. He made the process much easier than it should have been.

Mikey Cocco, our main man and a potential contestant for the next American Idol (not so much). Mikey is a longtime friend of Butcher Son. He and his father have built some absolutely beautiful—very upscale—homes in the area, which I have had occasion to visit (3881 Jefferson, Redwood City and 401 Buena Vista, Redwood City). I loved the look, the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, so he was an obvious choice. Mikey had moved to Oregon, but when he came back during the holidays we approached him to work on the project and to our delight he agreed. One of the things that made him so wonderful to work with was his smile and upbeat personality. He was always happy. He also made great suggestions, took changes with a grain of salt, and rarely got flustered. He worked around ill-fitting cabinets, wonky walls, and our budget. He was responsible for everything but the electrical (although he is a licensed electrician), drywall texturing, and painting. A wonderful human being and a joy to work with.

Tony Gomez, Mikey’s partner in crime. Tony, a licensed plumber, was Mikey’s sidekick during this whole project. A big bear of a guy, Tony hoisted beams, redid all our plumbing, tiled backsplashes, installed flooring, fixed our refrigerator water line so we can finally get chilled filtered water from it, and did it all with a smile. Having worked with Mikey and his dad for many years, there was an easy working relationship between the two, and he occasionally joined Mikey in song.

Chad Nessi, owner of Nessi Electric and employer of Electrician Son. Before ES got started on rewiring the whole kitchen, Chad generously took time out of his day to come over. He spent several hours here, advising on the best way of doing things, as well as doing some of the work himself. I think I owe him more than a lunch.

Mark Schaeffer of Schaeffer Drywall in Redwood City. Mark came over on very short notice, and at the request of Electrician Son. He was able to start right away, not only taping and texturing the new drywall but also retexturing the dining room/office. We had planned on leaving the skip texture alone in the dining room, but Mark kept wrinkling his nose and hinting it should be replaced, and he was right. Because the two rooms open to each other, creating a great room, it would have looked odd with two entirely different textures. He and Joe did a great job for us.

Shane, our painter, also fit us into his already hectic schedule. Because we had glitches here and there, we weren’t sure when we could paint, so this was another last minute call. Mr. B and I primed both the rooms, but Shane did the first coat of paint before any cabinets were even installed. He then came back once we had finished, sealing all the baseboards, the granite, etc. and doing a second coat on the baseboards, ceiling, and walls of all the rooms. He was quick and efficient, and you hardly even knew he was here.

I’d also like to give a warm and sincere thanks to our families, who help fund various parts of this venture. My godmother made it possible for me to have the stove of my dreams, a 6-burner BlueStar beauty that has a huge convection oven and makes canning a breeze. My father-in-law paid for all the Jerusalem Gold Honed Stone and Red Onyx accents for the foyer floor. It lightens up the foyer so much and I love the Escher-like pattern. And finally, to my mom who bought us new front doors. We have been living with the originals, hollow-core doors that were both hideous and felt unsafe. We await the arrival of two solid wood doors with shaker panels and 3 vertical windows.

While the project was not without its hiccups, for the most part it went smoothly and was completed in a timely manner, and pretty much on budget, too. All the aforementioned individuals had a hand in that feat and we appreciate it immensely, more than words can convey. I hope they will grace our home for many years to come and enjoy the bounty that will be born in that kitchen.


Mrs. B

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